International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat on Monday ruled out the possibility of holding an ICC World Test championship until 2017.
The game’s governing body considered the Test championship between the top four teams in 2013 instead of the 50-over ICC Champions Trophy, which is scheduled for England, but Lorgat said the new event is not possible until 2017.
“I am afraid that’s no longer going to happen in 2013,” Lorgat told media on the sidelines of the second day-night international between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai.
“At the last board meeting we decided that the first opportunity that we can play the World Test Championship is 2017. So I am disappointed that it is not going to take place sooner.”
Lorgat said the delay was due to prior ICC commitments.
“It is a reality of the commitments that we have got already through to 2015,” he explained.
Lorgat said a Test championship would ensure the status of the longer version of the game, widely regarded as under threat from 50-over matches and now from more popular Twenty20 cricket.
“We attempted to form the World Test Championship which I think would have been a very good context to ensuring the primacy of Test match cricket. But again we will have wait for 2017 to see that as a reality,” he added.
A setback for cricket
Had the Test Championship gone ahead next year, it is likely the final would have taken place at London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground, widely regarded as the “home of cricket”.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord’s and longstanding supporters of the Test Championship concept, said Lorgat’s announcement was a “setback for Test cricket”.
“It is disappointing to learn that the ICC has postponed the inaugural World Test Championship from 2013 until 2017,” MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said in a statement.
“Today’s announcement is a setback for Test cricket, at a time when we need to work to find the optimum balance between all formats of the game,” former England batsman Stephenson said.
Lorgat, meanwhile, praised the Pakistan team’s progress in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal which ended in jail terms for their former Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.
Since the scandal Pakistan have not lost a Test series.
“At ICC we need all the teams to be competitive, we want every team to be performing well at the highest level and Pakistan is a joy to watch, there is a lot of support for them around the globe,” added Lorgat.
“They make many people happy. So, when Pakistan performs it is good for international cricket because they are a very talented side.” — AFP